I like learning and getting outside my comfort zone helps me grow personally and professionally. However, it is easier said than done. Recently, I attended a training to deepen my knowledge about Relational Frame Theory (RFT) which is a scientific explanation of language and cognition. I know it sounds fancy and a bit intimidating. The understanding of RFT is important to me because the type of therapy I practice is based on RFT. Anyway, at the workshop I found the book learning was the easy part along with following the lecture. The hard part was putting the learning into action.
The action part was experiential in nature. Here’s how it went. We got into groups of three: one person played the client, one the therapist and one the observer. Then we rotated roles. The tuff part was being the therapist and feeling judged. At least that was what my mind was telling me. We were told to push ourselves beyond our comfort zone so we could increase our skill level. Not too much just a little. We were told we can learn from our mistakes. Does this advice sound familiar? The following may also sound familiar. My mind went crazy with worry about doing “it” right. The big “IF” became the operative word. Have you had an experience when your mind made matters worse? Of course – we all do.
Another reaction was ambivalence. I believe ambivalence is a defense against feeling vulnerable when deep inside something is really important. It is important to me that I offer the highest level of care and skill to my clients. It is a value I hold close to my heart because I want to help alleviate the struggle people experience with pain and suffering. I believe this is a route to help create world peace one person at a time. That is why I was participating in the RFT workshop with Mathieu Villatte.
I encourage clients, as well as family, friends and loved ones, to be self-compassionate, to offer their inner child unconditional love and to be forgiving towards their mistakes. I talk about mindfulness being the tool or key to achieving this acceptance. During the experiential exercise I had a chance to practice what I hope others will embrace, radical acceptance, and to stop being at war with oneself. Ideally, to be free is to live fully every precious moment of our lives including moments of self-doubt and discomfort.
Tara Brach, Ph. D. writes about Radical Acceptance which is a basis of what I am talking about. If you want to get out of your comfort zone and grow one of the factors to doing this is to be willing to feel uncomfortable.
Here is a list of ways to practice getting outside of your comfort zone compiled by Mark at DENORMALISE. Hint, hint, practice mindfully along the way.
- Take a weekend vacation every now and then
- Try one thing that scares you every day for a week. Make a list to choose from and put a check mark by the ones you try.
- Try something new every week/month
- Learn a new skill
- Dream BIG and make a plan
- Get involved in your community
- Talk to strangers / engage in conversations
- Take a different route to work or home
- Change your morning or event routine
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- Willingness is the Secret: 3 Lies Your Mind Will Tell You When You Are Afraid
- Toons-day: Inside Job
- How to Find Direction: Use Your Values
(c) Copyright 2013 Brenda Bomgardner